Since the finalization of the Marriott/Starwood merger, we’ve eagerly (anxiously?) awaited program changes. So far the changes have been fairly minor, some more loved than others, but 2018 was expected to be the big year when the two programs merged.
Well it looks like for 2018, the two programs are going to continue to stay separate, and today, Marriott announced that they will continue their relationships with both JP Morgan Chase (for the Ritz Carlton and Marriott card) as well as American Express (for the SPG card).
The agreements with both credit card companies are multi-year agreements, so even if the programs merge, expect to see multiple cards across the providers for a while.
“Marriott’s co-brand credit cards have been a meaningful contributor to the success of Marriott’s loyalty programs and a sign of the extraordinary value of our portfolio of brands,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott International’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are pleased to bring together the power of JPMorgan Chase and American Express with our global portfolio of brands to continue to provide consumers with choices. We expect our loyalty program members, owners and franchisees, and our shareholders will see significant incremental benefits from these new agreements.”
Expect to see enhanced member benefits, and new products in 2018 – like a “super premium” consumer and small business co-brand card from Amex, and a “mass consumer and premium consumer” co brand card from JP Morgan Chase.
I’m most interested in seeing what this “super premium” SPG card from American Express will look like – looking forward to comparing this to the benefits offered with other premium cards out there, including cards like the American Express Platinum, which offers card holders automatic SPG Gold status.
I do think keeping the cards separate (for now) will be a good thing – while we’re seeing reciprocal benefits across the board, a little friendly competition between credit card companies never hurt anyone 🙂